1. USC (6-0)
2. CALIFORNIA (5-1-1)
3. OREGON STATE (5-2)
USC Coach John McKay was once a pretty good halfback at Oregon and later an assistant coach there, and for his homecoming Oregon Coach Jerry Frei had a few things planned for McKay and his unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Trojans. First, for O. J. Simpson's benefit, Frei thoughtfully arranged for a drenching downpour that turned the field into a quagmire. It was, though, lovely weather for the Ducks. They surprised USC with a spirited attack that took unusual liberties with the Trojans' defense, gaining 359 yards. With less than three minutes to play, Simpson had gained only 67 yards and Oregon had USC in a 13-13 tie. But then the Webfoots ran out of luck. A lost fumble after a 61-yard pass play, a pass interference call on the Oregon three and Quarterback Steve Sogge's touchdown pass to Bob Klein with 1:12 to go won for USC 20-13. The close call provided cold comfort for the Trojans, whose next two games are against California and Oregon State.
California, though, had some problems of its own up in Seattle. Washington's Al Worley, a slender defensive back who specializes in intercepting passes, picked off one of Cal Quarterback Randy Humphries' tosses in the second quarter and ran it back 32 yards for a touchdown. It was Worley's 12th of the year and he got his lucky 13th later to tie the single-season NCAA record set by Oregon's George Shaw in 1951. Even so, it seemed that California would surely break a 7-7 tie with the Huskies. With 24 seconds left, Cal was on the Washington one with Placekicker Ron Miller nervously pacing the sidelines waiting to be called into the game. He never got there, though, because Humphries fumbled, Linebacker George Jugum recovered for the Huskies and California had to settle for a disappointing standoff.
Oregon State, meanwhile, looked like the hottest team in the Pacific Eight. Coach Dee Andros, who likes his football pure and simple, turned his double-tackle unbalanced-line offense loose against Stanford and it picked the poor Indians clean. OSU passed only five times, but Fullback Bill Enyart rumbled inside for 164 yards, Quarterback Steve Preece and Wingback Billy Main exploited the outside with pitchout plays for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns and Oregon State won 29-7. "They beat us every which way," said Stanford's John Ralston. " Oregon State is the best team we've played." Ralston, presumably, was including USC, which barely beat Stanford.
Wyoming hasn't got a lock on the Western AC title yet but the Cowboys are closing in on it. With Fullback Dave Hampton piling up 121 yards and scoring three touchdowns, the Cowboys smothered Colorado State 46-14. Wyoming, however, still has to beat Texas-El Paso and Arizona, which defeated Washington State 28-14. Arizona State's 63-28 whomping of New Mexico was no surprise but Utah's 30-21 victory over Brigham Young was-Utah Quarterback Ray Groth led the Utes, running for 134 yards and three touchdowns and completing 11 passes for 92 more.
The duel between West Texas State's Mercury Morris, the nation's leading rusher, and New Mexico State's Ron (Po) James, who ranks fifth, was no contest. James out-gained Morris 160 yards to 85 to win the battle but West Texas won the war 23-14.
1. TEXAS (5-1-1)
2. ARKANSAS (6-l)
3. HOUSTON (3-1-2)
It was late last Thursday afternoon, and Texas players, their workout over, were headed for the dressing room when Coach Darrell Royal called back his first-string backfield and Split End Cotton Speyrer. "He said he had something he wanted to try," Speyrer said later. What Royal had in mind was an end-around reverse off a triple option in which there was also a fake hand-off to the fullback, a fake pitchout to the halfback and then a pitchback to Speyrer. Two days later the play worked almost to perfection, Speyrer going 81 yards before an SMU player got a handful of Cotton on the Mustang four. Quarterback Jim Street plunged over for a touchdown and the Longhorns were on their way to a 38-7 win. Chris Gilbert kept the offense rolling by gaining 145 yards rushing, and the defense clamped down on Quarterback Chuck Hixson and his pet receiver, Jerry Levias. Hixson completed 31 of 50 throws, but had three intercepted, fumbled twice and was thrown for losses seven times. The Long-horns, advised that Levias tended to conserve his energy when he was not the primary target, relaxed their coverage and picked up other potential receivers.